Nadal, Schwartzman through to Italian Open semis

Rafael Nadal swept past fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco while Schwartzman cruised past Kei Nishikori in their respective quarterfinal matches.

Nadal will face Tsitsipas in the semifinals of the Italian Open.   -  Getty Images

Defending champion Rafael Nadal swept past fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco to book his place in the semifinals of the Italian Open on Friday.

The eight-time Rome champion came through 6-4, 6-0 in 1hr 38min to set up a clash with Greek eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas for a place in the final.

Roger Federer's withdrawal with a right leg injury earlier in the day had handed Tsitsipas a ticket to the last four.

The 32-year-old Nadal, seeded second, is bidding for his first clay-court title this season before chasing a 12th French Open crown at Roland Garros starting on May 26.

Sixth-seed Nishikori exits

Argentina's Diego Schwartzman cruised past Japan's Kei Nishikori in straight sets to advance to the Italian Open semifinals.

Schwartzman, 26, won 6-4, 6-2 in 87 minutes in the quarter-final for his first win against former US Open finalist Nishikori, the sixth seed, in Rome.

The 24th-ranked one-time French Open quarterfinalist has not dropped a set so far on the red clay of the Foro Italico and next faces either world number one Novak Djokovic or compatriot Juan Martin del Potro for a place in the final.

World number seven Nishikori paid for a string of unforced errors, with 28 in total, double that of Schwartzman.

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